How to Learn to Love Marmite
The British yeast extract spread is one of those hate-it-or-love-it condiments
You either love Marmite or you hate Marmite. There's no middle ground when it comes to the thick, sticky, deep brown yeast extract product that can be a beloved part of the British breakfast table or else something to make you involuntarily retch in your mouth. Extreme and polarizing reactions to Marmite even form the basis of its marketing campaigns—but it's also possible to learn to love Marmite.
First up, to start your conversion you'll need to be drunk or hungover (or, better yet, both). I'll wager that 90% of Marmite consumed in the United Kingdom is ingested by persons in these states. When I lived in London, I don't remember an alcohol-fueled night out that didn't end by snacking on a slice of toasted white bread slathered in butter and topped with luxurious swathes of Marmite. Call it the equivalent of New York City's dollar slice. And it makes sense: When you've been drinking and your stomach starts craving some form of sustenance as respite from the alcohol attack, you usually plump for something involving carbs, fat and salt. Marmite on toast hits all three desirables. A Marmite on toast food truck that roamed around pubs at closing time would make a killing.
The interplay of Marmite and alcohol isn't just anecdotal—there’s scientific evidence that drinking too much depletes your body's stash of B vitamins, which is something Marmite is packed with. Circuitously, it's also produced as a byproduct of brewing beer. To easily add Marmite to your morning after breakfast routine, try adding a teaspoon or so to the mushrooms that you’re frying up as part of a full English breakfast. This will ramp up the umami factor of the dish: as science tells us, everyone loves umami).
You can also fall back on a classic Marmite and cheese sandwich, which must be constructed exactly as follows: Take two pieces of toast and spread Marmite on each slice, then add some slices of cheese and cut the whole glorious shebang in half horizontally. It is very important not to melt the cheese. The crunchy texture of the toast meeting the gooey Marmite and the solid cheese sounds peculiar, but it just works. (Also, do not become tempted to add extra ingredients to the sandwich like tomatoes. That's just treasonous.)
If you're intent on keeping the drinking going on throughout breakfast, a Marmite-infused Bloody Mary is an easy gateway into the world of yeast extract beverages. Adding a dollop of Marmite will bring umami to the Bloody Mary and also balance out the pep of the horseradish and the kick of the tabasco sauce. And in the grand scheme of weird and inappropriate things people like to put in a Bloody Mary, Marmite is positively tame stuff.
If you're feeling plucky enough, you can also simply mix a teaspoon or so of Marmite into a cup of freshly boiled water for a savory pick me up. Hey, if people go nuts for bone broth's alleged restorative powers, they can certainly pucker up and sup down some of Marmite's mighty healthy thiacin, riboflavin and folic acid action.
And if all this Marmite love still sounds too unpalatable for you? Well, just be thankful you're not being advised to get on board with Australia's even more pungent yeast extract equivalent, Vegemite—only a truly devilish person would ever smile while giving someone a Vegemite sandwich.